Weekly Devotional

Why Can’t I Ever Change? – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

Why can't I change?

You know the feeling. You’ve blown up in anger, and said things you regret. You’ve broken your promise, and made a fool of yourself. You’ve fallen short of who you wanted to be, and felt that familiar, growing sense of self-disgust.

What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you seem to change your attitude? It should be simple, right? After all, you’re a Christian. But no matter what you do, you aren’t getting any better.

Scripture, at times, seems to make it sound easy.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” – Galatians 5:16-17

So, now that we’re Christians, it should just be that we live a good life, and that the Spirit will just magically keep us from doing the evil that we’ve wanted to do our whole lives. Right?

But that’s not what we experience. In fact, we experience so much failure when we think in this way that we must grapple with whether or not this passage of Scripture is even true.

Continue Reading

Who Do You Want to Be in 3 Years? – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

Devotional who do you want to be in 3 years?

I like thinking about the future. I hate thinking about the past.

Until I got married, I didn’t know any other normal human functioned differently.

I’ve since come to realize MANY people actually love looking at old pictures of themselves.

Honestly, I’d rather scrub toilets.

Many also rarely spend time actively envisioning the future they want.

I find that pretty weird, because that one activity takes up roughly 20% of my spare brain power.

Many actually prefer either rather living in the present (boring), or dwelling on the past (like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite: video clip here).

As I’m sure you can already tell, I’m always projecting what I want to accomplish in my career 1, 2, 3 years from now. This includes planning countless contingencies.

That’s why I was stunned when I realized I rarely ever envision how I want to grow spiritually.

Why is that?

I keep trying to answer that question, but over and over find that . . . I just don’t think that deeply about it.

Which is embarrassing to admit.

It’s not that I don’t care deeply about Jesus, or about my spiritual growth. It’s not even that I’m not being self-reflective (I’m overly self-reflective, if anything).

It’s just that I don’t take a very active roll in planning out life changes that will help me obtain the spiritual growth Christ calls us to in the same way that I do for my career.

The more I thought about it, the more disturbed I got. Because I had to admit I put a lot more thought and emotional effort into growing my career than I ever have into my spiritual life (which is about 10,000 times more important).

Continue Reading

Servanthood is Not Slavery – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

devotional on servanthood

It’s fascinating to me that modern portrayals of feminine power tend to show women doing macho things.

Women superheroes show their power by beating up the baddies.

In fantasy settings they don armor, or wield dangerous magic.

And in modern settings, female fighters strut into war like it’s an ice-cream parlor they’re about to destroy for gicks and kiggles (say it out loud and you’ll taste my lame sense of humor).

I don’t know about you, but most of the time these portrayals ring false.

Also, they tend to be boring, and misogynistic.

When I think of my mother, who’s a strong woman, the strength I admire in her never resided in biceps, or a psychopathic willingness to dominate and kill.

And it’s nearly exactly the same with modern portrayals of masculinity.

I never looked up to my father because I perceived that he would throw himself into the frontlines of a war.

The last thing I wanted was a dad who went to war.

I looked up to my dad because he was emotionally strong, because he protected me and guarded me, because he taught me how to live well and modeled it in his own life by serving me and the rest of my family without grumbling.

I looked up to him because he was strong enough to not hurt people.

He never viewed servanthood as slavery. He viewed it as a privilege, and nothing in my life has made me feel more loved.

Continue Reading

You Have Need of Endurance – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

devotional image endurance

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” – Hebrews 10:35-36

The first casualty in times of upheaval is our confidence in our future. The second is our motivation to continue.

For example, when Covid-19 hit, many of us faced the possibility of losing our jobs (and many more actually DID lose their jobs).

No sane person would tell someone in this situation that they should feel confident in their job stability.

Neither does God tell us that we should feel confidence in him without good reason.

So, let’s pick apart what reasons the author of Hebrews gives the reader to have confidence in God. Then, let’s consider why that should be our motivation to remain faithful to him.

Continue Reading

Male and Female in a Transgender World – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

male and female in a transgender world

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27

This week’s devotional is going to be a bit different.

Because in writing my latest novel, EDEN: Biblical Fiction of the World’s First Family, I have frequently pondered the disparity between the world’s view of gender, and God’s.

Because at the beginning of all things, God wove our sexual identity into his own personhood by saying that he crafted us, male and female, in his own image.

Men were created to reflect an element of God’s personhood. Females were created to reflect another element of God’s personhood. I am convinced this is strong proof of God’s intention that there be only two genders.

Yet the rest of the world seems to think this is not only a dated concept, but a dangerous one.

Continue Reading

Preparing For Trials and Blessings – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

preparing for trials and blessings

You know a year has been filled with trials when jokes about alien invasions and the general apocalypse sound old.

Many of you reading this have been pushed through truly painful events this year. I know because you’ve commented some of them; and where there’s a few, there’s more.

It’s difficult, when you’re in the midst of a calamity, to influence your level of trust in God. In times like that, you feel like all you can do is dig your fingernails in to keep yourself from falling off the cliff.

There have been myriad times in my life where I’ve been blindsided by terrible news that I was not spiritually prepared for. When this happens, the best response is to throw yourself into the arms of Jesus.

But I’ve walked away from those experiences thinking, “If I would have prepared myself beforehand, I would have had the spiritual maturity to have handled that much better.”

And it’s true.

Continue Reading

Fighting Laziness – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

My natural desire after punching out at work is to lie around like a bum and enjoy cheap entertainment.

Oh, and snack on chips and cookies.

And ignore every chore possible.

In fact, I’ve been ignoring my evening tasks so much that even after deciding I was going to work ahead on these devotionals, I realized I hadn’t even written this week’s devotional!

So, I figured, “What better devotional to write than something that would help me? Kill two birds with one stone.” (That’s the lazy man’s way.)

Continue Reading

The Only Way to Understand Jesus – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

understand jesus

I remember thinking when I was listening to sermons at about the age of 7 that the Pastor seemed pretty preoccupied with knowing things.

You must KNOW the WORD OF GAWD. You must KNOW the GAWD of the universe.

I reasoned that if it were a big enough deal to be so dramatic about it, I should figure out why.

So, I paid attention in Bible class, did well at memorizing verses for Sunday school competitions, and built up a hefty knowledge of Biblical trivia.

But I never felt more than intellectual interest in Scripture.

Even after I experienced my first eye-opening recognition of my sin and Christ’s sacrifice for my sake, my emotions faded long before they connected with my reading the Bible.

Continue Reading

The Garden of Delight – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

garden of delight

I’m the kind of person who gets annoyed at the fact that grass grows after you cut it. Or that beds must be made every time you use them. 

There’s just something about tasks that never end that somehow sullies my good mood. 

Yet I’ve still had a garden for the past few years. 

And despite my daily forgetting that it exists, we’ve managed to grow some delicious food. 

If not for my wife (who has grown fond of gardening) and my daughter (who has grown even more fond of eating every raspberry in sight), I would never have even kept an herb garden on a windowsill.  

Still, I enjoy the bounty. And early in the season, my wife was out of town, so my daughter and I went out and picked our first cucumber of the season. 

As soon as I saw the garden, I remembered it existed (funny how that works). While hastily watering the wilted, heatstroked plants, Willow spotted the cucumber. 

Continue Reading

What to Do When Your Soul is Bleeding – A Sabbath Selah Devotional

What to do when your soul is bleeding

It’s been a month with no posting, so I’m starting this weekly devotional up again, as promised. 

The only problem is I feel like my soul is bleeding worse now than before. 

2019 was a less-than-stellar year. I committed to too much and ended up working 60+ hours a week, got creatively burnt out, and stressed out over family health issues. 

Because of that, I made the decision to pull back on a lot of my writing tasks this year. I was looking forward to 2020 being better. 

Then it decided to be the worst year in recent memory. 

Continue Reading